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FAA certifies GBAS

written by australianaviation.com.au | September 27, 2009

The FAA has given System Design Approval for the Honeywell SmartPath precision landing system, opening the way for the adoption of GPS-guided approaches in the US.

SmartPath, which is a ground based augmentation system (GBAS) supports precision approach and landings by using satellite data and transmits digital guidance signals to aircraft systems. As such, it provides differential GPS corrections to replace or supplement the Instrument Landing System (ILS) currently used at airports, which can be susceptible to signal interference by weather and obstacles, resulting in significant disruptions to airport traffic, causing delays.

Unlike ILS systems, a single GBAS solution can be used to support approaches on multiple runways, and is seen as a likely replacement for ILS systems in the future.

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“One SmartPath system installed in a typical airport can yield annual maintenance savings of up to $400,000 compared to a single ILS,” said Vicki Panhuise, Honeywell’s vice president, US defence customers. “Honeywell’s technology offers airports improved efficiency and capacity, while offering operators greater navigational accuracy and fewer weather-related delays.”

Airservices Australia, which worked with Honeywell to develop the SmartPath system, is also expected to soon approve the use of GBAS. Airservices has trialled SmartPath at Sydney Airport since November 2006, during which time more than 1400 revenue landings using the system. SmartPath has also been installed at airports around the world including Bremen in Germany, Malaga in Spain and Memphis and Atlantic City in the US.

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